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Paulette Jiles books in order

Paulette Jiles is an American poet and memoirist, best known for writing Cousins (1992), a memoir, and the bestsellers News of the World (2016) and Enemy Women (2002).

Born in Salem, Missouri, she graduated with a degree in Romance Languages from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, before working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto and Ontario, as well as the Quebec Arctic—where she played a pivotal role in instituting the village one-watt FM radio stations in the native Anishinabe and Inuktitut languages.

Paulette also taught at David Thompson University in Nelson B.C., and spent one year as a writer-in-residence at Philips Andover in Massachusetts.

She currently makes her home near San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Jim Johnson.

Paulette enjoys playing Irish tin whistle, singing alto in choir, and riding remote trails in Texas with her friends.

More about Paulette Jiles

Genres: Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Poetry

Born: 1943

United States


Non Series

  • The Golden Hawks (1978)
  • Sitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma Kola (1986)
  • Enemy Women (2002)
  • Stormy Weather (2007)
  • The Color of Lightning (2009)
  • Lighthouse Island (2013)
  • News of the World (2016)
  • Simon the Fiddler (2020)


  1. Waterloo Express (1973)
  2. Celestial Navigation (1984)
  3. Blackwater (1988)
  4. Song to the Rising Sun (1989)
  5. Flying Lesson (1995)


  1. Cousins (1992)
  2. North Spirit: Travels Among the Cree Ojibway Nations And Their Star Maps (1995)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

The Golden Hawks

The Golden Hawks want a clubhouse of their own. But where can they find one in their new housing development on the edge of the city?

First they try to make their clubhouse in Joe's bedroom, but their parents get angry when the kids hammer holes in the wall. Then they scare themselves silly looking for scrap wood in an empty and spooky apartment building. Finally they try to make money so they can build a clubhouse. Will the Golden Hawks ever have a place to call their own?

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1978
ISBN: 978-0888621733
Publisher: Lorimer
Sitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma Kola

With the spark and zest of a gin fizz, Paulette Jiles invites readers along on an unforgettable rail trip. Our hatted heroine, a Katharine Hepburn type, is leaving America, escaping to Canada, hoping to find her Spencer Tracy somewhere in the Dome Car between Vancouver and points east. 

This heroine on the run soon finds her handsome man who happens to be a detective pursuing her. Acclaimed by The New York Times as "the best train story since Mary McCarthy's `The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt," Sitting in the Club Car is an elegant, illustrated, witty romp that combines an old-fashioned love story with period detective fiction.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1986
ISBN: 978-1551926407
Publisher: Polestar
Enemy Women

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. 

For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee. The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison.

But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

Now an escaped "enemy woman," Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise...seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0061337635
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Stormy Weather

Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls—responsible Mayme, whip-smart tomboy Jeanine, and bookish Bea—know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks. But in a year of devastating drought and dust storms, the family's fortunes sink further than they ever anticipated when a questionable "accident" leaves the girls and their mother, Elizabeth, alone to confront the cruelest hardships of these hardest of times.

Returning to their previously abandoned family farm, the resilient Stoddard women must now place their last hopes for salvation in a wildcat oil well that eats up what little they have left...and on the back of late patriarch Jack's one true legacy, a dangerous racehorse named Smoky Joe.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0060537333
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
The Color of Lightning

In 1863, as the War Between the States creeps inevitably toward its bloody conclusion, former Kentucky slave Britt Johnson ventures west into unknown territory with his wife, Mary, and their three children, searching for a life and a future. But their dreams are abruptly shattered by a brutal Indian raid upon the Johnsons' settlement while Britt is away establishing a business. 

Returning to find his friends and neighbors slain or captured, his eldest son dead, his beloved and severely damaged Mary enslaved, and his remaining children absorbed into an alien society that will never relinquish its hold on them, the heartsick freedman vows not to rest until his family is whole again.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0061720055
Publisher: HarperLuxe
Lighthouse Island

In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded. The earth is crowded with cities, animals are nearly all extinct, and drought is so widespread that water is rationed. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years, and no freedom, except for an elite few.

It is a harsh world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Growing up, she dreams of a green vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest.

When an opportunity for escape arises, Nadia embarks on a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. Along the way she meets a man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, a mapmaker and demolition expert. Together, they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megapolis—Lighthouse Island.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0062232519
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
News of the World

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0062409218
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Simon the Fiddler

In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band.

Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.

After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. He will travel around Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the colonel’s family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-0062966759
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks


Waterloo Express

Originally published in 1973, Paulette Jiles’s first collection amazed audiences with its rare depth of texture and verbal dexterity. Her work moves through landscapes that range from Africa to Mexico to Toronto with the ease of a travelling magician. Her swift, intricate metaphors leave the reader breathless, but her work also manages to be straight, earthy, vernacular, and disturbingly perceptive.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1973
ISBN: 978-1487006655
Publisher: A List
Celestial Navigation

These are poems of scorching intensity, which examine the politics of childhood and love; explore the rigors and blessings of living in the far north; mark the way stations of a life of discovery and exploration. The result is a poetry of singular, telling immediacy.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1984
ISBN: 978-0771044212
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

A selection of prose and poetry by an acclaimed Canadian writer includes the prose/poem novella "A Manual of Etiquette for Ladies Crossing Canada by Train," poems from "Celestial Navigation," and additional poetry, short stories, and letters.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1988
Ebook: B0041KPF2S
Publisher: Knopf
Song to the Rising Sun

A collection of poems by Paulette Jiles.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1989
ISBN: 978-0919591455
Publisher: Polestar
Flying Lesson

Governor-General's Literary Award winner Paulette Jiles has brought together in this collection a selection of poems representative of her work over the last decade. 

Many of her poems exploring the white frozen interior of the Canadian north will be found in this volume, as well as a series of poems calling up the bar and bawdy-house days of composer Scott Joplin's ragtime - appearing here in book form for the first time. 

Jiles' delight is in narrative lyrically evoking the landscape through which her stories travel. In "Song to the Rising Sun", commissioned for CBC Radio, she celebrates the Arctic landscape even as pollution threatens its harsh purity.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-0195410976
Publisher: Oxford University Press



The author draws on memories from her own youth as she describes her meeting with Jim Johnson, a retired army officer, at a horse-trading show in Missouri, and their subsequent journey through the southern states in search of Jiles' extended family.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0394580142
Publisher: Knopf
North Spirit: Travels Among the Cree Ojibway Nations And Their Star Maps

In 1974, when Paulette Jiles was first sent by the CBC to work as a journalist in Big Trout Lake, a village without radio or television in remote northern Ontario, she didn't know a bush plane from a backpack.

North Spirit is based on the seven years Jiles spent working with the northern Cree and Ojibway peoples, who call themselves Anishinabe. This lyrical, witty and reflective book evokes a time when new technology is beginning to clash with the traditional culture.

At its center is the author's search for the meaning of the remote and sometimes terrifying Oda-Ka-Daun, or Stern Paddler, who moves his cosmic vessel through the heavens. As she seeks to unravel this mystery, Jiles recounts her many adventures among the Anishinabe people and reveals the enduring legacy of their northern mythology.

Author: Paulette Jiles
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-1886913097
Publisher: Ruminator Books